Tang Yin, who was a native of Suzhou, had a very tumultuous life. His father's determination that he should receive a good education combined with innate brillance led him to easy and significant successes early in his life. However, in 1483-1484 he suffered the deaths of his father, wife, sister and mother, leading him to drink to excess. The promise of his youth was regained in 1498 when he took first place in the Nanjing provincial civil exams, a test failed by his friend Wen Zhengming (1470-1559). (The seal reading "First place in Nanjing" resulted from this success.) However, the next year he was tried and convicted for cheating on the Beijing metropolitan exams, resulting in a three month prison sentence, the payment of a fine and official demotion. He returned to Suzhou where he became a professional painter with Shen Zhou (1427-1509). In 1505 he built his Peach Blossom Cottage in Suzhou. Throughout his life he enjoyed gradually increasing success, which was countered by his fondness of drinking and spendthrift lifestyle that often left him short of funds.